“Ok Cortana, where’s my nearest restaurant?”
How often are you hearing someone in your household speaking to a piece of pimped out plastic as I like to call it? It is happening more and more frequently because the rise of voice search has stepped up a gear in 2017.
Let’s talk Voice Search numbers
Approximately there are 3.5 billion google searches every day, with an average of 60% through mobile and a potential high of 20% going through voice search. Is your business including this within your strategy or are you missing out on a huge chunk of traffic? If you are unsure whether to include even a small focus on this within your next business plan. You should know that voice search has been listed third on the SEO trends list for 2017 by SEO experts.
Here are a few stats and predictions taken from various searches that may help you plan ahead;
- Cortana now has 133 million users
- 40% of adults now use voice search once a day
- 25% of 16-24 year olds use voice search on mobile
- 60% of people using voice search have only started in the last year
- Home Alone and Elf were the most requested 2016 Holiday movies on Alexa
- 37% use Siri, 23% use Cortana and 19% use Alexa at least monthly
- By 2019 the voice recognition market will be worth $301 Million
- Around 30% of searches will be done without a screen by 2020
- It has been estimated that there will be 21.4 million smart speakers in the US by 2020
- 50% of all searches will be voice search by 2020
Voice search is no longer an ‘idea’ it’s now a phenomenally fast paced growth industry to watch out for!
The Evolution of Voice Search
To this day it perplexes me how I can ask my phone or computer a question and it will answer me like a human. Ok, maybe not an actual human because we all know there’s no emotion behind that screen but you get my point. It will provide me with relevant and useful information with around 80% success rate. You can’t knock it! Do you remember when cars were first released with voice recognition controls? Those awkward moments when you would say ‘call Sam’ and before you know it you are talking to your mum…Again!
Those of you that used one of the early systems will understand my point. So, we have to give it to the tech gurus at Apple and Microsoft who have finally realised everyone sounds different and we’re not all programmed to pronounce words in the same way. Today the speech recognition word error is a mere 8 percent compared to 23% in 2013. The China based giant Baidu have managed to develop speech recognition accuracy to exceed a whopping 95% accuracy rate.
In 2017, voice search is more likely to understand what you’re asking. Achieving this however has not come easy to the brands that champion it. Voice search takes a lot more time to develop and perfect because tech companies can no longer target specific keywords.
Instead they must look at the entire question and focus more on the long-tail keywords and phrases. Websites and companies need to be a lot more complex and ready to answer those long, hard hitting questions. For example when you type a question into a search box it may be something along the lines of ‘cheap restaurants’ but then you may say something like ‘where can I find cheap restaurants in Maidstone?’.
Why voice search?
The reasons for using voice search are becoming more apparent. For example, we can speak around 150 words per minute but we can only type an average of 40. If you’re in a rush and want to find the answer quickly, which option are you more likely to choose?
Reports state that 43% of people find voice search is quicker than using a website or app. I suppose when you think about it, you are simply talking to your phone and letting it do the rest. A popular factor with voice search is it allows people to use it whilst they’re driving. 42% of current users said this was the main reason they use voice search.
Voice search in practice
A great example of the voice search evolution and one potential future comes from one of our favourite coffee shops. Starbucks are currently experimenting with voice assistant. Allowing IOS users in the US to start testing voice and text orders via the Starbucks app using the function called My Starbucks Barista. They will also be releasing an app for Alexa and all Alexa compatible devices.
Can you believe it? Imagine walking into Starbucks and whipping out your phone to ask for a caramel Frappuccino medium ready to go. Could this be the future? Will we no longer need the smiley barista asking us how our day is going and the name they need for the cup? Maybe not just yet. For now, the lovely staff at Starbucks can relax in the knowledge that our orders still need to be fulfilled.
What’s next for you?
You can’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Over the next few days, give voice search a go yourselves. Not necessarily the Starbucks app but a simple Siri or Cortana question. The only way you’re going to know if it works for you is to jump in and test it out. If you want to be super critical, you can even analyse your results.
Will this form part of your business strategy or are you happy to sit by and watch it grow first? Either way, like most things you will be taking a gamble. With up to 20% of online searches going through voice, could you be missing out by waiting too long? Maybe you could invent the next big idea just like Starbucks.
“Ok Google what’s next?”